Let’s RAISE the Bar on Funding Entrepreneurs
Atlanta is the #1 city in the US for entrepreneurship by many measures, and in everyone’s Top 10. What separates us from the major regional players in the US in equity finance, however, is a dearth of senior financing (particularly in the $1M to $5M range) and a paucity of cooperation. Companies that are post-revenue and have proven their model often are not able to get funding in the Southeast; as a result, many of them get their funding elsewhere and eventually leave. The best companies don’t always know who the right investors are, and the investors aren’t aware of some of the best companies; when they do meet, often the companies aren’t fully prepared.
The RAISE Solution
The RAISE Forum, with the Goizueta Business School, is creating a funding mechanism that provides both sides with what they want. Our screeners will attract post-revenue companies from the Southeast; narrow them down to the best prospects using teams of advisors and investors; fully prepare the candidates to be ready and presentation-perfect; have only the right, active investors in the room; and help create syndication between investors to get the entrepreneurs funded locally.
Why The RAISE Forum is Important
The future for Atlanta and the Southeast will be entrepreneurship. It won’t be manufacturing or agriculture or even film production; they will be smaller segments of the pie. There are a lot of factors here that attract young entrepreneurs from low operating costs to easy transportation access and a talented workforce. The Southeast will become even more attractive as we can build our infrastructure and create new jobs.
Generating More Local Investment
RAISE will be extremely proactive on all aspects of the capital journey: From the investor’s perspective, we will eliminate the companies that waste time at demo days and we won’t present any company that hasn't taken the time or spent money to better represent themselves; and from the company’s perspective, we will create a ‘pure’ funding environment, with active and pre-educated investment groups of sufficient size to assess all the required components. Our goal is to create a funding rate well above what is standard.
The RAISE Forum board is made up of business professionals, entrepreneurs and investors who are committed to Atlanta and the Southeast and early-stage businesses. While our bias is healthcare, we will consider any company that is post-revenue. We have involved the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Invest Atlanta, The Goizueta Business School at Emory Univeristy and we have broad support across the region.
The RAISE Forum's Challenge
Our mission is to augment the opportunties that already exist, rather than duplicate efforts of other groups. We hope to create the next step up after seed funding and before a company has enough revenue to attract much larger funding, be it P/E or equity. This is a notoriously challenging level of funding for companies to find in the Southeast.
How Can the Southeast Become the Next Silicon Valley?
* Keep the senior funding local. Everyone wants it – let’s do something about it!
* Change the culture from one of competition to one of collaboration.
The RAISE Forum aims to make Atlanta and the Southeast the epicenter for entrepreneurs.